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U.S. Department of Health and Human Services


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International and Clean Air Act Information Regarding the U.S. Elimination of the Use of Ozone-Depleting Substances, Including Chlorofluorocarbons

The United States has banned the general use of Chlorofluorocarbons (CFCs) in consumer aerosols for decades, and eliminated the manufacture of CFCs in the United States as of January 1, 1996, except for certain limited uses. The Montreal Protocol permits continued production or importation of CFCs for use in essential medical products upon approval by the Parties (i.e., signatory countries) to the Montreal Protocol. As required by the Clean Air Act (CAA), FDA makes determinations of essentiality in consultation with the Environmental Protection Agency (EPA). Once a determination of essentiality is made, the United States, through EPA, applies annually to the Parties to the Montreal Protocol for a specific CFC production allowance. The United States has secured essential-use exemptions for the use of CFCs in Metered-Dose Inhalers (MDIs) and will continue to work to obtain these exemptions for the future.

The FDA will continue to support essential-use exemptions for the use of CFCs in MDIs for the treatment of lung diseases until non-ODS products adequately serve the needs of patients who depend on these products. As manufacturers develop new, technologically feasible alternatives to ODS products and the non-ODS products prove to be medically acceptable alternatives, ODS production and importation for these products will be eliminated in accordance with the terms of the CAA and the Montreal Protocol. The United States will then no longer request essential-use allowances from the Parties to the Montreal Protocol for these non-essential uses.

Additional information about the Montreal Protocol, the Clean Air Act, and EPA nominations is available through the links below.

  • The Montreal Protocol and its amendments  The full text of the Montreal Protocol and its amendments can be read here. The United States is a signatory to the Montreal Protocol and has agreed to follow its terms. The Montreal Protocol requires the eventual elimination of the use of CFCs.
  • Technology and Economic Assessment Panel (TEAP) from the United Nations Environment Programme, Ozone Secretariat. TEAP provides, at the request of Parties, technical information related to the alternative technologies that have been investigated and employed to make it possible to virtually eliminate use of Ozone Depleting Substances (CFCs, Halons etc.), that harm the ozone layer.
  • EPA Web site on CFC use  EPA information regarding the move away from the use of ozone-depleting substances. Specific information regarding MDIs is also available here.